Written by: Molly Edwards, DFM Creative Assistant & Founder of Project InstaKind
Let’s face it. Whether we like it or not, kids communicate on social media. And we spend a lot of time on it. I hate to admit it, but when I started using Instagram, I did see a lot of examples of kids who were not using social media in the best way. I saw kids doing a lot of bragging, and I also saw examples of outright bullying. Kids can be haters, and social media brings out the worst in us sometimes. I think it’s easier to post mean comments than to say mean things in person. So bullying became even more socially acceptable somehow. And the kids who are being bullied don’t even get a break when they go home from school now, because social media is 24/7, and follows us home. It can make the world seem even lonelier for some kids.
I’m passionate about community service. And I didn’t want to do community service that wasn’t meaningful or impactful. I’m also very busy, with dance, school, and acting. So I wondered, how could I, at only 11 years old, do meaningful community service work that fit into my schedule? And that very question, led me to create Project InstaKind!
Instagram is one of the most used social media outlets by kids my age. I think we all need reminders sometimes to be kind and often that message is better heard when a peer is delivering it. So I decided to use my social media for good. I no longer use social media to impress people, I use it to impact people. I do this by celebrating my peers through personal messages and features on my Instagram account. When I see peers being driven, kind, compassionate, courageous, or otherwise inspiring I tell them! I think if we spend our time building each other up instead of tearing each other down, we will all go a little farther towards our goals. When we lift each other up, we all rise.
And the amazing thing…….is that it started a MOVEMENT of Kindness! My peers came to me without asking to see how they could further my mission. So I let them of course! Because the world needs many kindness warriors. So I developed an Ambassador Program. I now have 20 Ambassadors coast to coast in the US and even from as far away as Australia and Romania. My Ambassadors help spread my mission of kindness. We are a diverse group of kids ranging in age from 5-17, from all different races, religions and socioeconomic backgrounds trying to help our generation end Cyber Bullying! And our mission has over 7,000 followers on Instagram!
So the message is that kids can make a difference. If you have something that you are passionate about, take it to the next level and do something about it. The world has enough followers, we need more Game Changers. We need to stand up for what we believe in and use our voice to create the change we want to see in the world!
So… you might be wondering, how you can help? Be Kind. Remember to value others and their differences. Tell someone when they are inspiring to you. It may only take a minute of your time, but for them, the effects may last a lifetime. Use your social media in a positive way to celebrate each other.
Note from the Editors: We applaud those like Molly who use social media to make a positive impact. These impacts extend into everyday life. We're excited to partner with Molly and give out 'Project InstaKind' Awards at our upcoming Dance Feature Fest on Saturday, August 18.